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Cancer Misdiagnosis

Four Year Delay in Diagnosing Adrenal Gland Cancer

Heston repeatedly sought help from his GP over a four year period complaining of the same symptoms. It was only when he researched his problems on the internet that his GP tested for phaeochromocytoma, a rare tumour of the adrenal gland.

When Heston attended his GP, complaining of shortness of breath, quivery arms and legs, mild chest pains and shakiness, the GP ordered a 24 hour urine sample, telling Heston that he was testing for a rare condition. Heston was not told the name of the condition, but it later transpired that the GP suspected phaeochromocytoma.

The urine sample was abnormal and Heston was asked to return to the GP practice. He did so but the GP made no reference to the urine sample and did not request a repeat test, which is what had originally been planned in the clinical records. Instead Heston was simply given medication to alleviate his chest pain.

Over the next four years Heston returned repeatedly to his GP. He still had shortness of breath, tremors and chest pain, and had also developed headaches, palpitations, anxiety, fear, nausea and eyesight problems. These symptoms would come in bouts, and were becoming more frequent and more frightening as time went on.

Each time Heston was told by the GP that he was suffering from panic attacks and offered a referral to the mental health team. He felt extremely humiliated and upset by this diagnosis as he was certain he was not experiencing panic attacks. This was confirmed after one particularly fierce attack when he was admitted to hospital with atrial fibrillation.

Feeling that the medical profession did not know what was wrong with him, Heston decided to research his symptoms on the internet. After several hours of research, he found a condition called phaeochromocytoma, a rare tumour that grows on the adrenal gland. He went back to his GP and demanded to be tested.

Various tests were performed which were all abnormal. A CT scan was then performed, and this showed a tumour on Heston's left adrenal gland. A diagnosis of phaeochromocytoma was confirmed. A successful operation was later carried out to remove the tumour.

The four years Heston spent suffering with the same symptoms could have been avoided, had his GP arranged a repeated urine sample at the outset. This would have saved a significant amount of pain and trauma for Heston, who was left to experience extremely frightening symptoms which were continually disregarded by his general practitioners.

We helped Heston pursue a claim against the negligent GP practice. He was awarded over £15,000 compensation for the physical, emotional and financial damages he wrongfully incurred.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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